Our Blessed Chaos

My hubby + a 1st grader + twins in kindergarten + 4 critters..... Yeah it is chaos, but we are blessed!

Today's Verse

1Corinthians 6
Verse 14 And God will raise our bodies from the dead by his marvelous power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead.

This verse is in the middle of a very serious discussion of avoiding sexual sin and immorality. This discussion can be summarized by Verse 13 But our bodies were not made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. So to honor God we should honor our bodies by keeping sex within our marriage relationship.

So this is very valid and important, however, verse 14 seemed to jump out at me today. The power of God is so amazing that when it is time He will raise our bodies from the dead. I recently heard someone talking about how there is so much information in a single DNA strand that it would fill thousands of Encyclopedias. Our bodies are so complex and beyond my comprehension!

It doesn't matter what state our bodies are in - decomposed, cremated, or missing. God knows and has the power to raise our bodies and transform them into the new bodies we will have in heaven! How will God raise bodies from the dead? I have no idea, but it simply amazes me that He can and that He will!!!

Verse 19-20 tells us our application today.
19 Or don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,
20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

Lord, your power is so amazing, your gracious love for us shown in so many ways. Help us to honor you by following your standards for living. Guide us along the right paths to avoid temptations so that we may focus on worshipping you.

1Corinthians 5
Verse 11 What I meant was that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a Christian yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or a drunkard, or a swindler. Don't even eat with such people.

This chapter starts by Paul stating he has heard about a situation regarding a man in their church that is living in sin. Paul is very direct about what the church is to do. If fellow Christians are indulging in these sorts of sins then we are to distance ourselves from them. My first thought to this verse was - Wow! That is harsh!

The world outside of the church is filled with all these kinds of lifestyles and sins, as Christians we are to embrace and love everyone no matter who they are, what they have done, or what they are doing now. This chapter, however, discusses that if someone within the church is committing these sins then we are to distance ourselves from that person. But why?

When we go to church we are looking to worship God, learn about the Word of God, and be a part of a community. It should be viewed as our escape from the evil and sin of the world. It should be a reflection of the holiness of God, a place that we can come to be refreshed, revived, and restored. If sins are a part of the fellowship and those sins are never dealt with how are we to learn how to live more godly lives. If we do not deal with the sin, or if we allow our church to view certain sins as normal and accepted then we will become too tolerant and indifferent to sins in our own lives.

We need to deal with fellow Christians who continue to live with sin in their lives. Of course we should help them in any way we can through prayer, counselling or whatever else they may need to overcome their sin.

Lord, please help us all to become less tolerant of sin within ourselves and within the church. Give us the power to overcome those sins. Help us to keep the church pure so that we can come to receive the wonderful refreshment and peace that you offer.

A little while ago the kids were upstairs having their rest time when Sam started screaming. I ran upstairs to find him sitting on my bed holding his foot and leg. He cried hard for a couple minutes before I could even find out what happened. I was very concerned in those couple of minutes, mentally planning what I would need to grab on the way to the ER.

I think what happened is that Carlee accidently dropped her juice cup on Sam's foot. She was looking quite upset and said "Sorry Sam" several times. That part was cute! Anyway, he wouldn't let me near him and from what I could see there was no blood. I was pretty sure that nothing was broken because of the way he was holding his foot and pushing and pulling his toes, but it was pretty obvious that it hurt alot! He was still crying hysterically and nothing I did calmed him. He kept asking for Daddy so I even put in a quick call to Daddy hoping he would calm down enough to tell Daddy what happened. Nope, didn't work. Finally I just snuggled him and laid down with him. That and the help of his mo-mo (pacifier) his cries slowly turned to sniffles. Then he said something that I couldn't understand because of the mo-mo in his mouth. He took it out and this was the conversation...(imagine the most pitiful 3 year old voice you can, all of this was much more pitiful)

Sam I can't run

Mama Oooohhh I know it hurts lots

Sam I can't run, I can't do anything......I can't run...or skip or hop.....or even walk....I can't turn or boom or...or...or DANCE!!! (turn is spinning, boom is running around the furniture and falling into it)

At this point he bursts into more tears and I am trying my very very hardest not to giggle because it was soooo pitiful. A couple minutes later he calms down and I have to go downstairs because I have bread in the oven and I knew it would be done soon. So I went down, and a couple minutes later Sam calls me from the top of the stairs. Here is that conversation...(still quite pitiful)

Sam (sitting on the top step) Mama! Mama I need you!
Mama (from the bottom step) Yeah Sam
Sam You can look at my foot now
Mama Okay, can you come down the stairs (I am wanting to see if he will walk on it)
Sam Okay, but I need to be very very careful (he proceeds to keep his foot raised and comes down on his butt, ever so slowly saying these things on every step...) Careful....I need to be very careful Mama...carefully so I don't bump my boo-boo...ouch ouch ouchy ouch...more careful... (well you get the idea)

I finally got his sock off and his big toe is turning slightly purple, nothing too serious. He wouldn't let me put a coldpack on it, even after talking to Mimi on the phone who wisely suggested the same thing. All he wanted was a bandaid so that's what he got. After which he ran out of the room. But it must have still hurt because after a couple minutes he came hobbling back, walking on his heel with his toes pointed up.

I have decided that this will be the child that will think the world is coming to an end if he gets so much as a sliver!

My babies 2 years ago, when they were only 4 months old.

Find more Wordless Wednesdays at 5 Minutes for Mom

1Corinthians 4
Verse 7 What makes you better than anyone else? What do you have that God hasn't given you? And if all you have is from God, why boast as though you have accomplished something on your own?

Everything we have comes from God. My family, our health, our home, my husband's promotion, and the new home we will have in a few months are all gifts from God. Everything we buy is a gift from God, because every penny hubby makes is because God has provided him with a job.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with Sam. We were eating lunch one day and Sam kept asking me about various items like cheese, milk, the plates etc and if they all came from the store. I kept answering yes, they came from the store. Then he asked "Where did you come from Mama?", I paused wondering if he would ask if I came from the store, but he didn't he answered his own question by saying "God gave you?" I said, "Yes Sam, God gave me to you and God gave you to me!" I was so excited that he was getting it!! He is starting to understand God.

We should look differently at our lives, the people in them, and at our possessions. It is very humbling to view everything as belonging to God and that He has given it all to us. I want to be a better parent because God has entrusted these precious children to me, I want to be a better wife because God gave me my husband, I want to be a better neighbor because God gave me my house, my community, my church and my friends, and I want to manage our money better because I am managing God's money.

Gracious and loving Heavenly Father, please help all of us to remember that it is all yours. I pray for help so that I can be a better parent, wife, and Christian. I know that I am not better than anyone else, that we are all equal. I pray that I can embrace that and that you can work through me to reach others. And through all of this I give you all the glory and praise.

Last night I stumbled upon this blog where I learned about Jon & Ali. Nine months ago they lost their little baby girl, and then on Sunday their twin boys were born at 21 weeks, both living for a precious 19 minutes.

As I read through their blogs I could not stop my tears. I cannot imagine the pain and sorrow they are struggling with. But I have also grown to admire her as I see strength and encouragement in her words. Her faith is incredibly deep, today when I went on to their blog she was already impatiently wanting her body to heal so that God can bless them with more children. Amazing!

So as I have been thinking about this family for many hours, I have also been debating what to write for Gratituesday. What am I grateful for?

Of course I am grateful for my wonderful family - for my amazing husband and for our three beautiful children who are so healthy and have never had anything worse than a cold or a minor ear infection.

But as I really think about Ali, I am more and more grateful for our God and the incredible love He has for us. I am grateful that Ali has such deep faith and the love of God will heal her and make her stronger. I am grateful to know that all of us can have that deep faith too. We can learn from Ali, we can all strive for a deeper relationship with God.

As a mother of 3 children, including twins, this story touched me deeply. Would you join me in following her blog and praying for her and her family, they truly need to be surrounded and covered in prayer right now.


Gratituesday is hosted by Laura at Heavenly Homemakers

1Corinthians 3
verse 1-2 Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn't talk to you as I would to mature Christians. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in the Christian life. 2 I had to feed you with milk and not with solid food, because you couldn't handle anything stronger.

The first time I read this passage I thought to myself 'no wonder I feel like I am struggling with all this, I am still a baby Christian!' Well, since then I have had some spirtual growth, I think I am now a preK Christian.

This passage has always stuck with me because for me it defines what we need to be doing - growing. Children grow mentally and physically at sometimes alarming rates, But soon the growth slows, but no matter what stage of life we are in, we are learning and growing. This is true for our spiritual growth as well.

As we grow spiritually what are we feeding to ourselves and what should we be consuming? Our spritual growth is very much influenced by what we allow into our daily lives.

I did a search and found 4 Essentials to Spiritual Growth. It is very practical and as Christians we should at the very least be doing these things:

1. Read your Bible daily
2. Pray daily
3. Attend church services regularly
4. Get involved in a ministry group, such as youth ministry, missions, womens groups, or other ministries in your church

And to that I would also add Scripture Memorization. This is a habit that is very neglected in our culture, and it is one we need to pay more attention to. I have just started to memorize scripture and it is already blessing me greatly.

Dear Lord, your work in our lives is amazing. Thank you for guiding me through spiritual growth, for the desire and the need to read your Word every day, for the wonderful church you brought us to, for the blessing of being more and more involved in the church, for answering so many prayers, and for giving me a passion to memorize scripture. I pray that you continue to work in my heart to make me aware of the things I need to change so that I may continue to grow closer to you.

Joanne at The Simple Wife hosts Memory Monday. It is a great way to memorize scripture.

I missed posting last week, I had chosen the first step of the Roman Road...

The Roman Road
Romans 3:23-24
For all have sinned, all fall short of God's glorious standard.
Yet now, God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus who has freed us by taking away our sins.

Oops, just a little off, by missing those four words.

The next step of the Roman Road is Romans 5:8 and I am going to add verse 9 to that for memorizing.

Have a blessed week memorizing scripture!!!

Visit orgjunkie.com for more great menu plans!

After focusing on marking papers last week I will be busy cleaning my house this week , so nothing new, nothing fancy. Just the same old delightfully easy and yummy recipes!!

My menus must be quick and easy and I have found that I use my crockpot at least twice a week! Here is my menu plan for this week.

Breakfasts are Cereal, Whole Wheat Waffles , Homemade Oatmeal, or Whole Wheat Bread with PB&J. Wow! I am still amazed that other than having store bought cereal and PB&J, the rest of our breakfasts are made from scratch!!!

Lunches are usually Leftovers

Suppers this week are:

Monday Crockpot Stew

Tuesday Chili

Wednesday Pasta & Veggies (if I find time to go grocery shopping and get the fresh veggies!)

Thursday Southwestern Pot Roast

Friday Pizza Night (maybe I will try a homemade pizza - have to see how the week goes and if I get out to get groceries!!!)

Saturday Scott's Hamburger Soup

Sunday Chicken (have not decided on a recipe yet)

Most of these are one dish type meals so we usually have a slice of fresh Whole Wheat Bread as a side. We have also been trying to eat more raw veggies so we have been having that and Veggie Dip.

1Corinthians 2
Verse 2 And my message and my preaching were very plain. I did not use wise and persuasive speeches, but the Holy Spirit was powerful among you.

The gospel message is very simple. We do not need many words or even all that much wisdom to share the message of Jesus. When we speak to people about Jesus the Holy Spirit will guide our words so that we will say exactly what the other person needs to hear at that moment.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you the opportunities to share the message of Jesus. Other Christians do not need to hear the Gospel, they already have hears it. We need to get out of our comfort zone and spend some time in the world away from other Christians. The Holy Spirit will guide us to those that need to hear what we have to say, and that is that to believe that Jesus died so we can have eternal life.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the simplicity of your glorious plan. We are all terrible sinners but we are declared not guilty simply because Jesus took our sins away on the cross. Please guide those that need to hear this message so that they may also have eternal life with you. I pray for power of the Holy Spirit to work through me so that I can have the opportunities to share this wonderful message more often.

1Corinthians 1
Verse 18 I know very well how foolish the message of the cross sounds to those who are on the road to destruction. But we who are being saved recognize this message as the very power of God.

This idea is brought up again in 1Cor 2:14 But people who aren't Christians can't understand these truths from God's Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what the Spirit means.

If you are not saved, the Word of God will not make any sense to you. The whole idea of Christ dying on a cross and rising from the dead may seem quite irrational and that those who believe it are foolish.

But this is all part of God's glorious plan! The way to eternal life is so simple, just believe in Jesus and you will have eternal life. The moment you are saved, you receive the power of the Holy Spirit and you will begin to understand the complexity and glorious power of all that once seemed so foolish.

The more we understand about God, the more humbled we become. Problems in the church and in our lives usually start from us focusing too much on ourselves and not on God. Putting the focus back where it should be puts these problems into the proper perspective. The power of God can solve any problems we face. Our understanding of how God solves our problems lies in a deeper understanding of His Word.

Thank you for bringing me to 1Corinthians, I am excited to learn all the truths and gain deeper understanding of your Word. I pray that all who read this are brought closer to you and that those who are not saved will begin to have the desire to know you and be brought to you.

I typically use the NLT study Bible for my daily readings and study. One of the things that I love about this Bible is the information provided at the beginning of each book. I never gave these pages much more than a quick glance, until now. It is really fascinating to understand who wrote it, who he wrote it to, and why.

Today I chose to start a study of 1Corinthians. No particular reason other than I thought it was the first Epistle, so I checked. I was wrong, so for everyone's benefit here is the breakdown of the New Testament.

Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

History - Acts

Epistles written by Paul - Romans through Philemon (some argue Hebrews is also written by Paul)

Epistles by other Authors - Hebrews through Jude

Revelation of Christ to John

Okay, so there is your Lesson on the structure of the New Testament! Romans is the first Epistle, but I am not ready to tackle that book yet, so I will start with 1Corinthians. Most of today's information is coming from the book summary in my Bible, I certainly could not come up with most of it on my own!

The Key Verse of this book is 1Corinthians 1:10 Now, dear brothers and sisters, I appeal to you by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ to stop arguing among yourselves. Let there be real harmony so there won't be divisions in the church. I plead with you to be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.

I wondered why this was the key verse, it makes sense when you understand the outline of the book. This is the outline presented in my Bible:

A. Paul addresses church problems (1:1 - 6:20)

1. Divisions in the church
2. Disorder in the church

B. Paul answers church questions (7:1 - 16:24
1. Instruction on Christian marriage
2. Instruction on Christian freedom
3. Instruction on public worship
4. Instruction on resurrection

All of these topics would seem to lead back to or be solved by being "of one mind, united in thought and purpose"

Just looking at the topics of this book it is easy to relate them to problems and issues we have today. The book of 1Corinthians is certainly as relevant today as it was when Paul wrote it. We need to pay careful attention to what he is instructing us to do.

Lord, thank you for you glorious Word and for making it so relevant to our lives today. Please prepare my mind and heart so that I can have a much deeper understanding of the instruction and guidance given in this book.

Katy Lin hosts the weekly "My Husband Rocks". Normally she gives prompts to write about. I love that it really gets me thinking about all the wonderful things about my husband. This week she has some really great prompts, but I will not be following them. I have some news...

Yesterday we got the almost (not yet in writing) official word that hubby will be receiving a promotion! This is not a total shock, we have been expecting it for quite awhile now, but it always seems so much more real when you hear that he has to report in to the new duty station no later than July 1!

First of all, I have to say that I am incredibly proud of my husband and all he is accomplishing. We have been married for about 5 1/2 years and this is the second promotion he has received. I think it is impressive. My husband is very easy going and is not the kind of guy who jumps up and down screaming with excitement! He is incredibly humble about the whole thing but I do think he is secretly very excited about it.

So now, what does this mean for us? We were just transferred to Norfolk from California last June and were expecting to be here for 4 years. After being in southern California for 5 years and now with small kids we did not want to be anywhere near the city. We bought a house 50 miles from hubby's work and he commutes every day. We absolutley love it out here and if at all possible will never live in a city again.

But the new job in Baltimore is 250 miles from here, obviously too far to commute. We need to sell the house. There are a couple problems I see with that - the ecomony and the location. The economy speaks for itself. We live in one of the most rural counties of the state, so not alot of real estate transactions going on around here. The house we bought had been on the market for a year. Obviously we hope that with a much better realtor than they had, some reorganizing and some paint that we can sell faster than that! So step 1 - get the house ready to sell and put it on the market.

Step 2 - assuming that the house is not going to sell before the end of June, hubby will need a place to live. A place that we (me, kids, & pets) can spend alot of time at too. And it needs to be somewhat rural and relatively inexpensive - we are still paying a mortgage afterall! I looked online today and I think that with some looking we should be able to find something suitable.

Step 3 - make about a million lists! I will need to have two workable & livable households until the house sells. We are thinking that we will spend some time there with hubby and some time here alone or with him on some days off. I need lists to figure out what to move there, what to keep here, what to put in storage to make the house buyer friendly, blah blah blah...a bazillion things to think about and plan!

Step 4 - when the house sells we will need to find a more suitable place to live. But we don't need to worry about that just yet.

That's all I have for now! It will be stressful and add more chaos to our lives but in the end My Husband Rocks! He is and will be the rock of our family. I organize, he keeps me sane, it is a wonderful partnership.

Cheaper Than Therapy

Another fun Thursday carnival!!! And I made it with only moments to spare!
Go here for more!

I have no idea who this is, and I did not take this photo. It was an attachment in an email. You know the ones, jokes and silly chain letter types that go around the email world a million times. Normally I just delete them, but once in awhile something like this shows up. Rather than forwarding it I decided to post it here because I know you will all love it! The kid is adorable, but the dog is priceless! What do you think the dog is praying for?

The line that was in the email was this:

The intensity of the dog's face shows more sincerity than most people!

A few days ago I put most blogging on hold because I was marking papers. I still have a few to go, but I am a bit ahead of schedule so I can do some blogging again - Hooray!!

Anyway, I also had put a hold on the SOAP bible studies because I was planning something new. The church that I go to does not have a Women's bible study and I found that I really missed it. A couple weeks ago I decided that I was going to work on that. But first I wanted to have a study prepared, or at least started before I announced it in church and in the neighboring churches. So that is what I have been working on, and really didn't get that far because of the marking. But I decided that I had enough planned to at least announce it and see if there would be enough interest. I was going to announce it on Sunday at church.

Then this morning hubby got the almost-official (not yet in writing) word that he will be receiving a promotion. I will be posting more about that in another post. But is does mean we will be moving, that means I will not be starting a bible study. I will be back to regular SOAP studies!

I realized that I have not written much about our pets. Here is their story...


When I lived by myself in Canada I got a dog from the SPCA, she looked like a black Benji dog! We used to go on long walks and she pretty much went everywhere I did. Here is a picture of her running in the snow, she loves to run!

When Arlan & I were going to get married I told him that Ellie & I were a package deal. When we went to SanDiego he even had to move so that we could be in an apartment that allows dogs! Well, it did not take long and Ellie decided that he was the best thing to come into her life. She quickly became his dog!!! Her life changed drastically going from being a "farm" dog to a city dog in SanDiego to a beach dog in Huntington Beach. Then we had kids, Ellie tolerates them and occasionally shows them some puppy love.

She does like a soft place to lay! If there is anything to lay on, such as clothes, blankets, or bodies then Ellie will be laying on it.

And she always patiently waits for her turn. I started calling them my furry vacuums because they clean up the floor under the table so nicely.

Ellie is getting pretty old, I have had her for almost 7 years and they guess that she was 3 or 4 when I got her. But she has been a great dog and I hope she has some good years left in her yet!

Then there is Matty! Poor Matty is not the smartest dog on the block! We inherited Matty from hubby's grandparents and brought him home a couple months before Sam was born. Matty is a miniature poodle and chiuaua mix and because of the poodle he needs frequent grooming. After about 5 weeks he is just a mess!

Matty loves to be near people, but especially Daddy, I guess he hasn't figured out that Daddy really doesn't like him all that much hahaha! Just kidding, he does like Matty, he will just never admit it!

At first Ellie wanted to have nothing to with him, but eventually they grew to be friends.

Matty ended up being quite an expensive little addition to our family. He has had both back legs operated on to correct problems with his knee joints. During the recovery of his surgeries that were about a year apart, he was not able to exercise much. And this was about the time that we started to feed table food to Sam, and not long after to Ben & Carlee. Poor Matty is now nicknamed Fatty Matty. The good news is that he has lost a bit of the weight since we moved here and he has room to run.

Boots the three legged cat!

Within the first few nights of being in our home we met Boots. He was a stray cat that introduced himself one evening when we sitting on the deck enjoying the quiet of the evening. Of course it was hubby (the old softie) who just had to feed him. I told him that if he feed him he would never go away. Well hubby hoped that he would catch mice and that it would be good to have a cat around the yard. So we started feeding him, and discovered that he didn't mind the dogs and really liked the kids. he has these cute white paws and so I immediately started to call him Boots.

A few weeks after Boots started hanging around I found him under our deck with a badly broken leg. I took him to a vet and decided that he was a nice enough cat that we would see if we could fix his leg. The vet's opinion was that cat's generally heal really well and he would probably only need a splint. So I brought him home with a splint and had to keep him indoors. A week later the vet checked his leg, but it had been too bad of a break and the leg was dying. It needed to be amputated. I had already put money into the "stupid cat" as I affectionately began to call him. What was a few hundred more! And so the stray cat became our three legged house cat.

He gets along just fine with just three legs. In fact I have seen him with a mouse and a bird! He is never too far away from the house, comes when I call him, and is quite often where ever the kids are. The best thing I love about him is that he always goes outside rather than using a litter box!!

Now here is the strange thing about our pets...Talk about coincidence!!!
I got Ellie from the SPCA on July 4, 2001
We brought Matty home from the Grandparents on July 4, 2005
I found Boots with a broken leg on July 4, 2008

And then there are the add-ons...There are a couple of dogs in our neighborhood that have figured out we are suckers for cute, friendly dogs. And especially when it is cold outside and we are suspicious of how they are treated at home and they are cute and they are good with the kids... I know I am trying to justify the fact that the other day we had as many critters in the house as people. But Trixie makes her way over here nearly every day, usually around the time I am feeding the other critters. She has good timing! She is a cute lovable little dog who loves the kids. Ellie and Matty tolerate her but her and Boots get along really well.

And the latest add-on...One day there was a big brown dog that showed up in our yard. If you know a lab, then you know that they are just the sweetest, most lovable dogs. And this dog was no exception. We think we know where he lives, but we don't know his name. I started to call him Bob the big brown dog. When he shows up he comes in the house for a snack and a snooze. He was sleeping on my feet while I typed part of this post! The kids love him and he loves, well everything! He even wags his tail while Ellie growls at him, while Matty barks frantically at him, and while Boots hisses and swipes at him. I think they are jealous hahaha.

The moral of the story is that we love our pets, and even our neighbors pets! I believe that having pets teaches our children gentleness, kindness and compassion. And I also believe that we will always have pets.

I must start this post by warning you that if you are offended by certain natural bodily functions, then you should not read any further.

Okay, now that that is out of the way we can continue with a couple little stories that me laugh so hard I nearly peed my pants.

First Sam's story...

We were playing with Bob (the neighbor's dog - a big lab mix), it was cold out and so we let him in for awhile. I am writing another post to give you all the details of the critters in our life. Anyway, we were having fun with Bob, the kids are used to small dogs so this big dog was quite a novelty. Until there was a strange and horrible odor - I forgot that big dogs can have big smells!! This is the conversation that followed

Me (groaning) EEWWW BOB!
Sam What? What did Bob do?
Me UUUGGG can't you smell that?
Sam Yes! What is it?
Me ooohhh Bob has really bad gas!
Ben (joining the conversation) What Mama?
Sam (to Ben) Bob ran out of gas

To that I practically fell off the couch I was laughing so hard!

Now Carlee's story...

We were finishing bathtime and Carlee was still in the tub but with no water left. She was having fun slipping around when all of a sudden she tooted quickly loudly. She was very surprised and then looked confused. Of course I chuckled and said "Carlee! What did you do?"
She said "I farted!" Then she got a huge smile on her face and said with much excitement "Just like Daddy!!!" Well I started to laugh so hard I cried! Daddy came in to see what all the fuss was about, when I told him what she said, he grinned proudly and said "That's my girl!"

Head on over to The Diaper Diaries for more "Things I Love Thursdays"

Today I found "Things I Love Thursdays" I love wipes! All kinds of wipes. I cannot live without them! Oh yes I have developed a very serious addiction to wipes. I use them for everything. Baby wipes are generally used on our bodies and for quick table cleanups. Cleaning wipes are used for everything else other than dishes - I still use a dishcloth and dishtowel for dishes. At the moment I can only think of three other times when I do not use wipes. 1) windows get windex and papertowels 2) diaper rashes - wipes burn on diaper rashes so I use facecloths 3) bleeding children get to sit on the kitchen counter with a cold facecloth (this is a frequent event so I now keep a stack of facecloths for this purpose near the kitchen sink).

I don't have a favorite brand of wipes - I use Huggies baby wipes, Lysol, Clorox and Costco's Kirkland brand for both kinds of wipes. I usually buy from Costco and get whichever is the cheapest with whatever coupon I happen to have. Still they are somewhat expensive and I would guess that they are my biggest luxury item, at least on an ongoing basis. But I do not care - I love them and cannot do without them.

I love them so much that a babywipes box is the centerpiece of my table! There is are babywipes boxes in both bathrooms, at least 3 babywipes containers in the diaper bag, a cleaning wipes container on the kitchen counter and one in each bathroom. At all times I have a full box and an opened box of babywipes - the huge Costco sized boxes. From Costco the cleaning wipes come in packages of three or four containers so I keep a full and an opened package. When I use the last container in the package or box I buy another one on my next trip to Costco.

I go through alot of baby wipes and cleaning wipes every day. I really have no idea how any mother survived without wipes. I know that they must have used alot of various kinds of cloths or rags. Imagine the extra laundry - no thanks!! I also simply cannot imagine that everytime I needed to wipe something I would have to run to the sink, wait for the water to warm up (our water is very cold this time of year), wet and rinse a cloth and then chase down whoever it was that I was supposed to be wiping. I would also have to wipe all the surfaces that messy child came into contact with. Not gonna happen - not when I can have three kids and the table wiped in under a minute using wipes. Okay, so I can rationalize using wipes for body parts. What about for cleaning? Well, it was gradual but the use of baby wipes crept into using cleaning wipes for cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms. Pulling a wipe is simply much easier than wringing out a cloth!

I used to use rags for general cleaning and dishcloths for daily kitchen surface wiping. Until I saw the commercial where the woman is wiping with a sponge and then they say she might as well be doing this.. and it cuts to her wiping with a raw chicken. YUCK!!! I have read the label on the disinfecting wipes and it says that to sanitize the surface has to stay wet for something like 30 seconds and to disinfect it has to stay wet for 4 minutes! Okay so I am obviously not disinfecting the surfaces I am wiping, but still - I am not wiping around a possibly germ infested cloth, who knows what hubby used that cloth for while I was still sleeping!!!

So there you go, my very own rationalization for my very deep rooted wipes addiction that I am not soon to give up.

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I was helping the kids get their coats and boots on to go outside this afternoon. Ben had thrown his boots across the porch, he had a fit about something (that was not the funny part by the way!).

Anyway, he finally decided that he was ready to get his boots on so I told him to go get them and bring them to me. He went to the first one, picked it up and then put it mouth, held it with his teeth and brought it to me. I took it out of his mouth, he gave me a big grin and turned to go get the other one. But this time he crawled over to it, picked it up with his teeth and ran with it in his mouth back to me.

I kind of chuckled and asked what he was doing, he told me he was a puppy. LOL

This cute little incident sort of made up for earlier...

Sam came running to me and said "Ben is getting into trouble! He is spraying everywhere!!!" I thought maybe he had taken off his pullup and ...well. So I ran into the living room and saw him spraying all right. He had managed to find a bottle of Goo-Gone and was spraying it on the floors, the trunk, the windows, the TV, and the leather furniture! Now for those of you who do not know what Goo-Gone is, it is a wonderful product for getting stuff like sticker glue off of things. It works really well, but is not supposed to be used on leather, I didn't want to think what it would do to the laminate floors. I was not impressed and it took a long time to clean up. But after he told me "I made a big big mess Mama, I'm sorry" then he gave me a big hug and one of those delightful slobbery toddler kisses!

This is not really funny, in fact it nearly made me cry! This morning when I was making breakfast Sam came up to me and we had this conversation...

Sam Are you making breakfast Mama?
Mama Yes
Sam What are you making Mama?
Mama Waffles
Sam YUM I like waffles
Mama Me too!
Sam (after a brief pause) Mama...
Mama Yeah Sam?
Sam You are my best friend!
Mama Oh that's so nice!
Sam (before I could say anything else He hugged me around the waist and said) I Love You Mama!!

All I could do was hug him back, say I Love You too Buddy, and choke back the tears! He is such a cute kid, but I love that he is so sensitive and loving!

Then later I was helping him to put on a sweater and we had this conversation...
Sam Thanks for helping me with my sweater Mama
Mama You're welcome, and good job having such nice manners today.
Sam (very proudly) Yes I am! I say thank you when I get help!

Here is an email I just got from my cousin who will soon have her first baby...

Well my dear friends the countdown is officially on....Thus, the anxiety is starting to set in. I am trying to get prepared for the lil bambino to arrive. I am starting to make a list of all items to buy and have on hand for at least the first few weeks. I thought who better to ask then all my beautiful friends whom have already experienced this. Please let me know everything from the kind of diapers, lotions, bottles ( incase the old naturals dont work...lol) to strollers you would suggest!!!!

I look forward to hearing from all of you!!!!

Thanks a mil!

This response is written directly to her, but I posted it here for the benefit of anyone who is about to have their first baby.

Wow, T, you have really got me thinking! I wasn't working and had alot of time on my hands so I ended up doing soooo much planning that really didn't mean much once Sam was born!! Life is now so chaotic around here that I forget how quiet and peaceful it was before we had Sam. Well except for moving three weeks before he was born haha I do not recommend that unless your mom will be there to unpack your entire house!!! My mom and hubby literally did unpack everything. I just watched, I was so huge and tired by then that I couldn't do a thing!

I seriously cannot believe that I am going to post these on here, but what the heck.... it is what it is! This was me right before we left for the hospital to have Sam. If you haven't been taking monthly pictures of your belly (which I didn't do) make sure you take one like this!

Or like this!!! Right before we left for the hospital to have Ben & Carlee. I was 58 inches around - I am only 60 inches tall!!!!!!

Quick scroll really far down so you can get these horrible images out of your mind!!! Think about what I produced - BIG babies... Sam was 9lbs 11oz. The twins were big on their own: Carlee was 7lbs 7oz and Ben was 7lbs. Whew that is 14 1/2 pounds of just babies!!!!!! No wonder I look so miserable and uncomfortable in that picture - I WAS!!!!!

Decide what you need at the hospital - you don't really need that much, I took way too much stuff that I never even used! Once the baby is there you will not be interested in anything else. Just remember the essentials - brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, chapstick, etc and comfy clothes to go home in (not pre-preg clothes!! Your tummy will take a long time to contract).

Okay - here is something that maybe no one else will tell you!!! But I will share because you are family and I love you!!! Make sure you have lots of super duper max strength maxi pads at home. They will probably supply you with some while you are at the hospital, but you will need lots at home. It is kinda nasty but goes with having a baby!! You will have a major period for probably weeks. I was surprised I never knew that it would be so heavy or last so long - with both pregnancies it lasted a full 6 weeks. YUCK I recovered quicker from the csection!! The first few days are the worst and then it will gradually get better.

As for baby stuff at the hospital - I didn't use anything of my own. They had all the supplies and kept him dressed in a hat, shirt and diaper and wrapped in a blanket. They don't want them in "real" clothes because they have to take regular vital signs. Yes, I asked! LOL Here are some pics from the hospital showing their fancy outfits.
This is Sam, only a few hours old!

And here are Ben & Carlee about a day old.

Of course you have to have a car seat. Don't bother with the extra padded stuff you can buy, just use the headrest that comes with the carseat and roll up receiving blankets along the sides. This was Sam's first trip to the doctor.

Okay, now I will try to think back to when it was just Sam. This is difficult by the way! It is hard to remember what they were like as tiny newborn babies when right now I need earplugs to drown out the noise. And I don't even want to know what kind of devastation the Hicks Hurricane is creating while I am trying to type this.

Anyways! The first couple days were all about settling into a routine. I was so very fortunate to have lots of help. Hubby was home for a couple weeks, his family were visiting for about 10 days, and my mom was there for quite awhile too. It was really helpful and made it easy for me to get the rest that I needed to recover.

Setting up your home - basically think sleeping, eating, changing, clothes, bathing

You don't need the fancy bedding sets, you can't have all that stuff in the crib anyways! Get a few nice crib sheets and a waterproof mattress pad and you're done! I always layered the mattress. First a sheet, then the waterproof pad, then another sheet on top. Makes it much easier if you have to change the bedding in the middle of the night - just take off the wet sheet and pad and you are left with an already made mattress!

We had a crib set up, but not the bassinet where he would sleep for a few nights. I didn't really like that he was all the way in another room, but I got over it once I realized that I would jolt awake at the first cry. If you can, put the baby to sleep in the crib right from the start. And keep regular sleep patterns as soon as possible. For example, if it is day time open the curtains, have the TV or radio on and go about your day. Your baby will sleep when he or she is tired and will learn to sleep through the noise. When it is night time, the lights are off and it is quiet. Feed and change when necessary then put them right back to bed - I never talked much and even limited eye contact (usually I was still half asleep LOL). Soon they will learn to eat and go right back to sleep. Ben and Carlee slept in the same crib until they were a year old and started to wake each other up by steamrolling over each other and stealing pacifiers right out the other one's mouth!
Here is a picture of them a few days old in their shared accommodations.

I was not able to breastfeed, so we were using bottles right from the start. The hospital sent some home with us and that ran out very quickly. I don't know why I did not buy some formula before he arrived! Hubby was sent out on a very quick trip when I realized we were very low. We had easy babies that took to whatever bottle we gave them - no problems there. I would recommend having a few bottles in case you also cannot breastfeed or if you decide to supplement with formula. There are many kinds and brands, cheap and expensive. To start it makes no difference, if your baby has trouble, that's when you would need to experiment with differnet bottles. When you are looking watch the number for the flow of the nipple. Make sure you get ones that are for under 3 months old. At first I made up a batch of bottles, then I got smart! I measured the water (at room temp - no need to warm it), measured the formula, dumped it in and shook it well. Bottle ready in less than 30 seconds.

Changing - Diapers
I recently figured out that we have changed over 16,000 diapers! YIKES!!! There are newborn sized diapers, but the baby probably won't be in this size very long. Sam never was, he started in size 1.

Changing - Wipes
Funny now when I think back to those first days. I remember not having the changing station set up properly. I was in the middle of changing the first poopy diaper at home and did not have wipes within reach OOPS!!! Good thing there were 4 other people in the house LOL. I have used about a bazillion wipes and continue to use them without a second thought to how much they cost. I do not care, they are the best invention ever! Having said that I have to tell you they are not good when your baby has a diaper rash. Do not ever ever ever use wipes on a rash - even the mild ones still have some chemicals and your baby will scream in agony. Use a wet, warm facecloth instead. In times of bad rashes I used a changing pad on the bathroom floor so I could be near the sink.

Changing - Creams
There are lots of diaper rash creams, but few are worth anything. For diaper rashes I use Desitin Original and I bought Zincofax in Canada too. The brand does not matter, the ingredients do. This was advice given to me by a wonderful pharmacist - Always use a cream that has at least 40% zinc oxide. It totally works, most rashes are gone by the next day. For dry skin I sometimes use a lanolin ointment.

For the going home outfit, of course pick something cute but also something that looks easy to get on. Trust me on this one - some of those little baby clothes tested my intelligence and patience!! I no longer have a photo of Sam in his going home outfit, we lost nearly all of his first nine months of photos and videos when our computer crashed. BACK UP your photos and videos people!!!! I now upload everything to Snapfish! I also do not have a photo of Ben & Carlee in their going home outfits, but there was alot going on and taking pictures was the last thing on my mind that day!

Oh yes, and make sure that the outfit you chose can be quickly changed. Both Sam and Ben were soaked through and through by the time we got them home. You should also have a couple sizes, Sam was a big baby and never even fit into the newborn sizes!

As cute as all those little itty bitty baby clothes are, most of them are impractical. You want things to be very easy in the first few weeks. Also, newborn babies are quite difficult to dress. Choose things like these:
- footy jammies, but make sure they snap up both legs. The ones with snaps only on one leg are hard to get on the leg that doesn't snap. And with footy jammies you don't need socks - socks are useless for little babies, they never stay on!
- sleep gowns, I didn't discover these until Ben & Carlee. They are awesome, especially while you have them wrapped up in a blanket, just unwrap and change!
- If you want to dress them up a bit more chose outfits that have simple pants and a onesie. I liked onesies when they were little because it stayed in place when you lifted them up.

I had a little baby tub that fit right into the sink. I rarely gave a bath when I was alone, they are just too slippery. I never liked to take them out so I always bathed them in the evening when hubby was home to hold the towel. I only ever used baby wash and baby lotion after. No specific brands, just whatever smelled the best the day I bought it. Sam's umbilical cord took forever to fall off so it was awhile before he even had a submersed bath - this was his reaction LOL

Other stuff
Okay, so you have fed and changed the baby, now what?? After the first few days of doing nothing but holding and staring at your precious baby who is FINALLY here, you will realize that there are things that need to be done. What do you do with the baby? Well, you must have a swing and you must have a bouncy seat. I used both with Sam, but these things truly saved my sanity when Ben & Carlee arrived.

This was when they were about three months old. After my parents abandoned me and went home I had to come up with a way to feed them at the same time, they were always hungry within minutes of each other! As soon as one would start to eat, the other would wake up starving and scream, then the first one would scream in horror if I stopped feeding to get the other. Propping seemed like a solution, until I found Sam stealing bottles!! It was a nightmare, until I solved it with bouncy seats!

Best advice for strollers is to go to a store and push some around. I am short so for me, most of the bars were too high and uncomfortable. Make sure you also test out how to collapse them and how heavy they are to lift. If you will be using it alot in the first month or so you want to make sure that the backrest lays completely flat. The one I bought was not that expensive and was a stroller/carseat combo. Worked perfectly for alot of miles! Until Ben & Carlee - then we had to get "The Limo"

Take lots of pictures. They really do grow quickly and you will forget how little they were until you look at a picture. One of the things that I did, and still do is make sure I have a good picture of each of them and one of the three of them together every month. Then I use Snapfish to create picture books for the year.

Well, T, that is probably way more information than you were expecting, but I hope it was helpful. I pray that you have a safe and easy delivery and a beautiful healthy baby. I am sad that we live so far away but maybe I will be able to make it home this year. Until then keep us flooded with all those pictures you are going to be taking!!!

PS.. I have heard that it is possible to get pregnant while breastfeeding! I wasn't breastfeeding, nope just not paying attention (or God's plan!!) and was pregnant before Sam was 3 months old!